While I love Facebook, LinkedIn, social bookmarking sites, and all others forms of new media, my personal poison of choice is Twitter. I use my Twitter account for both business and personal tweeting, which I actually prefer in most cases, though I know some people have multiple accounts to separate their professional life from their personal life. In either case, I think there’s something key that we all have to remember:
Just because you can say something on Twitter doesn’t mean that you should say something on Twitter.
I’m guilty of saying stuff on Twitter that I realize later paints me in a bad light or otherwise misrepresents me in some way. I think we all have had foot-in-mouth moments or get a little too personal in a moment of poor judgment. But some people make me cringe more often than not. I’ve even unfollowed some people because they don’t have a proper brain-to-Twitter filter. It isn’t about the occasional mistake. It’s about constantly making bad tweet choices.
Here are some things you should consider before you tweet:
- If this is the first tweet a new follower reads, are you representing your brand well?
- Do you retweet and reply? Or are you a self-centered tweeter?
- Will your tweet hurt someone’s feelings? Critical is ok, but hurtful is not.
- Are you extremely emotional? If so, calm down before you tweet.
- Would you want to know that information about someone else? There is such a thing as TMI.
- Is your tweet passive-aggressive? If you don’t want to say it to someone’s face, don’t say it on Twitter either.
- Would you be embarrassed if your mom read your tweet?
- Would you be embarrassed if a potential client or employer read your tweet?
- Is your tweet on topic? You don’t have to only tweet about your blog niche, but if you aren’t relevant at all, followers from your blog may feel duped.
- Is your tweet clear? With only 140 characters, messages can sometimes get muddled.
We get so used to tweeting sometimes that it is easy to forget we don’t have to share everything. If your tweets are boring because you’re too prolific about your meals or how cute your cat is, that’s one thing – but if you’re losing potential blog readers because you’re giving followers a bad impression, that’s something else entirely.
Think this doesn’t apply to you? Do yourself a favor about go to your own Twitter page right now, reading it as a new potential follower would read it. What you find may surprise you. I know people who have done that exercise and realize that they come off as extremely harsh or way too emo or really ditzy when they aren’t any of those things at all.
My appeal is simple this: be conscious of how, what, and when you tweet. You can find a lot of success with Twitter, but you can also make a fool of yourself just as easily.